I hope you all had a good Christmas.
I was just looking through some old pictures on my computer after uploading a couple of Christmas shots, when I stumbled across this (click to enlarge): It's a crappy old sketch of mine that I had completely forgotten about, detailing some of my first impressions of Northrend.
How does this compare to my feelings about Cataclysm right now?
Everything looks really good. Oh, without a doubt, especially now that you can fly over (nearly) all those old world zones.
NPCs talk a lot more than they used to. Oh god, I had no idea what was yet to come, did I? I almost miss the days when Apothecary Lysander yelling about SEVERE STOMACH PAINS every thirty seconds counted as "talking much".
Most quests can be soloed... that doesn't mean that questing alone is actually more fun. Those stick spiders were supposed to represent the Nerubians just outside Warsong Hold, which forced my hunter into a tight spot more than once during early WOTLK. Thinking about whether that statement still applies today, I kind of have to say no. Respawn rates can still be silly in places, but I think that zones like Vashj'ir for example are actually designed to be more fun when you're playing alone. Of course, once you've tried to do some dailies in Tol Barad and got swarmed by the same mobs respawning on top of you three times in a row, you'll desperately cling to anyone who's willing to group with you again.
Instance bosses with adds are pretty common and a healer's bane. That one's funny because I don't remember feeling that way about the Wrath instances at all, ever, but I had very similar thoughts during several of the boss fights in the new Cataclysm instances. (Azil, I'm looking at you.)
Instances in general are very... interesting. Again I can hardly believe that I ever found the Northrend instances interesting. That's what rerunning the places a few hundred times will do to you I suppose. Though I do remember the multiple times I saw people get stuck on that ledge in the Nexus and be forced to suicide (pre-dungeon finder teleport). Cataclysm instances seem interesting to me too now - I'm not looking forward to one day finding them as dull as I found the Northrend instances towards the end.